Putting the Pandemic in Verse

Our latest Corona Chronicle captures New York in Our Year of the Plague 2022

 

Photos by Reuben Radding

 

NEW ANIMAL

By Shelley Stenhouse

 

New York is a three-legged dog
finding fresh footing. Below
my window, in 98-degree
heat, Jim the hefty restaurant
manager builds a deck that juts
out like a dock on the tar river
of Grove Street. He measures
stocky wall boxes 18 inches
deep. This precise distance
protects us from vehicles
(just as 6 feet protects us
from particles). Jim is valiant
and the wooden vision
emerges. Landscapers come
and fill the boxes with plants.
Huge blue umbrellas spring up.
Silver, glasses, waiters, diners
laughing, hooting ha ha ha—
another round! Jim used to live
in my building with a huge
old dog named Porter
who lumbered up 4 flights.
Since Jim moved, I never ask
about Porter, because Porter
is dead by now.
This week I had to put
my cat Calvin to sleep.
Only a few knew Calvin.
He’s the one whose paw
I held on the sofa
during lockdown,
we chanted when protests
went by before his cancer
came back the size of a plum.
Like Patsy the servant
in Monty Python’s Holy Grail
let’s bang coconut halves
together imitating horse hooves
and pretend we can ride across
the human gaps that have toppled
the world. I notice on West 4th Street
the restaurant boxes are full
of stagnant water and trash.
Troughs to feed this new animal
we’ve become.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Shelley Stenhouse won the 2019 Palette Poetry Prize. Her collection, Impunity, was published by NYQ Books, and her fiction and poetry have appeared in Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, and Brooklyn Rail (among others). Shelley works one-on-one with writers of all ages, and is a seasoned college essay tutor: www.shelleystenhouse.com. She has lived in her West Village apartment for 39 years.

Share Button

Comments are closed.

Basilica Farm & Flea

Eight Surefire Strategies for Giving Really Good, Inspired Gifts

A Curtain of Coupons: Is it Art, Decor, or Just Plain Eccentricity?

Le Cafe Arnold

Edible Memories: At Le Café Arnold, Chicken Flambé and V8 juice

R. Gross Restaurant

Edible Memories: R. Gross, a Garment Center Mainstay

Ella Fitzgerald by Wiliam P. Gottlieb

I’ll Never Forget … Ella Fitzgerald’s Final Concert at Carnegie Hall, 1991

Cour des Vosges

Rooms With a View in France: Aligned by the Stars

Edward Elgar

I’ll Never Forget … Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations

George Gelles and Seiji Ozawa

I’ll Never Forget … My Friendship with Seiji Ozawa

Luchow's

Edible Memories: Lunch at Lüchow’s with Lauritz Melchior

The Grateful Dead

I’ll Never Forget … The Grateful Dead and Summer of Love